At least nine people died and two hundred others were injured over the past three months in separate road accidents at the Bagail toll plaza on the Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga Highway
The toll plaza on the Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga Highway at Bagail in Bhanga upazila of Faridpur seems to have turned into a death trap. Despite the low traffic during lockdowns, there have been recurring incidents of traffic-related deaths and injuries at the spot.
At least nine people died and two hundred others were injured over the past three months in separate road accidents at the Bagail toll plaza.
Drivers who frequent the highway said the toll plaza was so close to the descent off the flyover, it was often difficult to control the speed of their vehicles when approaching it.
And to make matters worse, the newly-constructed toll plaza was not lit up at night and so it is completely dark at the time, making it sometimes impossible to make out, they added.
Moreover, there were not enough traffic signs, road markings and speed limits on the highway as the work to install them was being delayed due to the repeated lockdowns.
Earlier, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) experts had found “faulty” and “accident-prone” features in the divider system of the highway.
While investigating a fatal accident last year they found a significant gap between the crash or safety barrier and the divider’s concrete block, which increased the fatality rates in accidents, they said.
In a recent road accident, four people were killed when a bus overturned after hitting one of the dividers at the Bagail toll plaza.
In a separate incident, two motorcyclists were killed on the spot when they collided head-on with a divider at the toll plaza the night before Eid al-Azha.
A few days earlier, two college students and an unidentified male were similarly killed in separate accidents.
Safiuddin Mollah, local union council chairman, highlighted the toll plaza’s close proximity to the descent off the flyover and its narrow lanes as major reasons behind the frequent accidents there.
He said: “If the toll plaza were at least one kilometre away, there would be fewer accidents.”
Speaking on the issue, Bhanga Highway police station OC Omar Farooq said: “The work of the toll plaza is yet to be completed. When it is completed, there will probably be no more accidents. Some unskilled drivers are getting into accidents while speeding, ignoring the instructions on the flyover.”
Meanwhile, Bhanga Upazila Council Chairman SM Habibur Rahman echoed Safiuddin Mollah’s statement, saying that as the toll plaza had been set up near the flyover, drivers could not control their speeding vehicles and were getting into accidents. If the toll plaza had been set up a little further away, there would have been fewer accidents.”